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Two Charged With Firearms Violations

Biscayne National Park

National Park News

Ranger Scott Johnson received a call from dispatch on December 31st relaying a report from a fishing guide that two men were firing automatic weapons in Biscayne Bay. The guide said that he was within a quarter mile of their vessel and could see rounds hitting the water near his boat. The dispatcher could also hear automatic weapons fire in the background during the conversation. The boat was subsequently seen leaving the area, heading west towards Miami. Ranger Jared Brierley responded by vessel from Adams Key and headed towards Matheson Hammock Marina to locate the two men. The Coast Guard and Coral Gables PD Marine Patrol also responded by vessel to assist in the search.  Coral Gables police were able to locate a boat matching the description of the one involved in the incident at the boat ramps at Matheson Hammock Marina and found one man on board. He admitted to firing weapons from his boat while on the water. Brierley arrived shortly thereafter and determined through questioning that the man had been discharging his weapons in the park. The GPS unit onboard the vessel confirmed the man's statements. Items seized as evidence were a fully automatic .223 AR-15, a 12 gauge pump shotgun, four boxes of .223 caliber ammo, seven spent 12 gauge shotgun shells, eleven spent .40 caliber shell casings, and 27 spent .223 shell casings. The man said that a friend had told him it was OK to travel offshore and shoot guns from his boat. Further questioning revealed that there was another man on board who was firing his .40 caliber handgun and that he’d been dropped off at another location.  On January 2nd, Brierley contacted the second man. Both men have been charged with discharging a firearm in Biscayne National Park and with discharging a firearm in a manner that endangers persons and/or property.


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